Demonstrators Square Off Against Opponents And Police As Anti-Trump Protests Spread

PORTLAND, Ore. — The increasingly tense protests around the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory escalated early Saturday with a shooting here that scattered panicked protesters and left one man hospitalized, as demonstrations spread to other American cities.

Portland police said a pair of 18-year-olds who had no connection to the protesters — and are possibly gang members — were arrested in the shooting. But after the fourth straight night of demonstrations in response to Trump’s unexpected presidential win, city and police officials here appeared harried and frustrated. At a news conference Saturday afternoon, they told protesters to “stay home.”

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/1e4bdb68-a8f8-11e6-ba46-53db57f0e351
Cameron Whitten was live streaming an anti-Trump protest march in Portland, Ore., in the early hours of Nov. 12 and captured a shooting break out. Police say a man in a car got out and fired several shots at a demonstrator. (Facebook/Cameron Whitton)

Mayor Charlie Hales (D) said Portland has experienced “great unrest” since Tuesday night. While he shared the frustration over the election of Trump, he said that changing the outcome “doesn’t involve signs anymore.” Hales encouraged residents who oppose Trump to get involved with organizations that will work to thwart controversial promises that the Republican had made on the campaign trail. Among other things, Trump has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and the deportation of immigrants who are here illegally.

“It is not the work of four days. That is the work of four years,” Hales said. “Going to the streets for another night is not going to keep Donald Trump from taking office.”

Portland has been home to some of the country’s most virulent anti-Trump protests, with residents taking to the street as early as Tuesday night, even before the results of the presidential election were announced.

Despite Saturday’s pleas from officials to stay home, about 200 demonstrators had gathered by 6 p.m. in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Eager to take the streets, the demonstrators flooded across downtown to express their ire over the election of Donald Trump.

But police quickly nipped the protest, herding the young crowd back toward the square. Small groups of men and women blocked streets near the square, sitting down at intersections or standing in front of light-rail trains. They were quickly arrested.

After several nights of protests, some of which began as peaceful but escalated to vandalism, Portland’s Resistance — a local group formed in the wake of the election — said it would not organize any event Saturday. And the evening protest reflected that leaderlessness. Young protesters Instagrammed themselves wearing bandannas over their faces. They yelled at police and, at times, more words were flung at police than about the president elect.

Demonstrations have sprouted up over the past few days in more than a dozen places across the country, in major metropolises such as New York and Los Angeles, as well as in cities in red states such as Atlanta, Dallas, Omaha and Kansas City, Mo.

On Saturday, a group even gathered in Mexico City at the Independence Monument, expressing concern about a possible wave of deportations, according to the Associated Press.

School teacher Armando Osorio told the AP that Mexico simply is not prepared to receive a large number of deported migrants. He said the structural and labor conditions do not exist.

He said it would add to the “unrest” that’s already in Mexico.

In Indianapolis, two police officers were injured by rock-throwing protesters who had until that point marched peacefully through downtown streets for hours. A small group became more aggressive as night fell. Seven were arrested.

Farther west, authorities estimate a thousand protesters marched down the Las Vegas strip. The vocal but peaceful protest blocked traffic and, at one point, squared off against pro-Trump protesters with a line of police officers separating the two factions.

A massive rally in Los Angeles began at MacArthur Park and snaked through a concrete canyon of downtown high rises and a quarter-mile-long tunnel en route to the Federal Building at 300 N. Los Angeles St. Police estimated the crowd at 8,000, but organizers claimed the numbers were significantly higher.

Shouting chants such as “Hands too small to build a wall!” and “Black Lives Matter!” the gathering mass of demonstrators drew cheers from bystanders from the windows above and beeps of support from vehicles stalled in the river of protesters.

No arrests had been reported by midafternoon Saturday, although the tunnel was defaced with anti-Trump graffiti and a small group of demonstrators cracked open a Trump piñata with a stick at the march’s terminus in front of the Federal Building.

Jessica Rodarte, a history teacher at an arts high school in Los Angeles, said many of her students are frightened at what a Trump presidency could mean for them. “Some of them are scared of deportation, but I happen to work in a school that has a huge LGBT community … and this is a complete affront to their world view,” she said.

Dotting the crowd were hundreds of placards and picket signs bearing messages such as “You can’t comb over racism” and “Dr. King’s dream has turned into a nightmare.”

Union del Barrio was the main organizer of Saturday’s march, although about 10 other groups took part.

Jocelyn Moguel, 20, draped herself in the Mexican flag as she walked. “My mom honestly didn’t want me to come here because, she says, ‘What if somebody kills you because of how you look?’” said Moguel, the editor of her campus newspaper at Harbor College. She said she wears the flag because “I have pride in who I am.”

As the crowd amassed at the end of the march, several people spoke from the steps of the Federal Building. Among them was a magnetic 12-year-old named Joseph Moreno, a seventh-grader at Walnut Park Middle School.

 “He calls us rapists, he says we do drugs, he says we do all this stuff,” Joseph said of Trump, rousing the crowd. “You know what, let’s prove them all wrong today! Today, we can let out our anger — say what we want, do what we want. The best part about this is this has all been peaceful.” The crowd cheered.

In Portland, the initially peaceful protests turned violent Thursday night when a group the police identified as anarchists lit fires and smashed car windshields and business storefronts, causing more than $1 million in damage.

Organizers of Portland’s Resistance had scheduled a “heal-in” in front of Portland City Hall on Friday night, but before 9 p.m., the event turned tense when eager protesters shouted, “Let us march!” Hundreds of protesters stood off for hours with police in riot gear, who began advancing from their positions after people threw bottles at officers. For three more hours, police announced that the protest had become an unlawful assembly and used flash-grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

At the news conference Saturday, Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman said that the peaceful protests had been overshadowed by a “criminal element” who want to engage in a “battle with police.”

After midnight, a crowd of remaining protesters marched across a bridge spanning the Willamette River, blocking traffic. A man driving a car got out and shot a protester before speeding away.

By Saturday afternoon, Portland police had announced that Steffon Marquise Corothers and Shamar Xavier Hunter, both 18, were booked with attempted murder and unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting. Police spokesman Peter Simpson confirmed that a TEC-9, a semiautomatic gun, was recovered from the suspects’ vehicle.

The pair will be arraigned Monday in Multnomah County Court, police said. No additional details were released.

The gunshot victim was recovering, authorities said.

A demonstrator sets a fire in Portland on Thursday night. (William Gagan/Reuters)
A demonstrator sets a fire in Portland on Thursday night. (William Gagan/Reuters)

Simpson said the shooter had no connection to the protesters and was not a “counterdemonstrator,” but instead was “out looking for trouble.”

In a statement, the protest’s organizers said they would not march Saturday night, and Marshman appeared hopeful that others would heed the message.

Meanwhile in New York, demonstrators thronged the streets around Trump Tower, which has served as the headquarters for the president-elect’s transition team. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore walked into the building’s lobby Saturday afternoon while shooting a Facebook Live video. He attempted to meet with Trump but was denied access. Instead, he left Trump a note. “Mr. Trump. I’m here. I want to talk to you,” it said.

Protesters rally in downtown Chicago on Thursday. (Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)
Protesters rally in downtown Chicago on Thursday. (Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)

T.V. Reed, a Washington State University professor and author of the book “The Art of the Protest,” said the past few days could be just the beginning of broader signs of discontent.

“We can be certain that these protests portend far larger ones in the future as social movement groups prepare to resist any policies of the new administration that threaten people stigmatized by Trump or that scientific evidence suggests will hasten environmental catastrophe,” he said.

Source: The Washington Post

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